Monday, June 18, 2018

Rolls Royce Former Employee Sues for 135 000

Rolls Royce

A former female engineer at Rolls Royce is suing her employer for Sex Discrimination and Unfair Dismissal. She is claiming 135,000 of damages for injury to feelings and loss of earnings.

She had been working for the company since 2007 and suffered from depression as a result of treatment towards her.

Orla Phelan was employed as an engineer and was the only female in her team. Two men in particular made her feel uncomfortable at work by having certain conversations in front of her. In these conversations they regularly referred to women's breasts as assets, which made her feel uncomfortable. Mark Lee, who was her immediate boss and Paul Gamble, another colleague, enjoyed cultivating a macho environment at work. She told the tribunal 'the conduct of the two males was puerile and lewd and the contents of the conversation derogatory to women. They knew I was able to hear their conversation and took no steps to cease or moderate their behaviour.'

In addition, Ms Phelan felt that her work and abilities were not recognised. She was excluded from some of the team's meetings with clients and senior staff and was told that she lacked the requisite experience to attend. She felt that her skills were belittled. In reply to these actions she told the Tribunal that she felt her boss 'was not prepared to listen to my contribution because I was a woman and therefore in his eyes not worthy of serious consideration.'

She also explained to the Tribunal that Mr Gamble had placed his hand on her knee when driving her back to work following a pub lunch. He had also referred to her as a secretary in the past. It was clear that he did not respect her as a female project engineer and he had excluded her from emails in the past. He was also prone to using sexual swear words in her presence.

As a result of the above behaviours Ms Phelan had complained to the Rolls Royce Derby factory. They failed, however, to discipline Mr Lee or Mr Gamble. As a result of the ordeal Ms Phelan became depressed and took some time off work sick having been declared severely stressed by her GP in February 2009. She lodged a claim against the firm in September 2009 and says that since then she suffered from 'blatant victimisation'. She was dismissed in September 2011 because she refused to return to work.

Giving evidence at Nottingham's Tribunal she commented 'as soon as I arrived, it was clear to me that I was the only female in a group that included two laddish males Mark Lee and Paul Gamble. They sought to put me down as soon as possible. It may be they felt threatened by me as an articulate female and felt they had to put me in my place.' Rolls Royce say that Ms Phelan's claims are groundless and are defending the case.

Share to Linkedin